Memorials: 1381

Memorials of London and London Life in the 13th, 14th and 15th Centuries. Originally published by Longmans, Green, London, 1868.

This free content was digitised by double rekeying. All rights reserved.


, 'Memorials: 1381', in Memorials of London and London Life in the 13th, 14th and 15th Centuries, (London, 1868) pp. 447-455. British History Online [accessed 27 May 2024].

. "Memorials: 1381", in Memorials of London and London Life in the 13th, 14th and 15th Centuries, (London, 1868) 447-455. British History Online, accessed May 27, 2024,

. "Memorials: 1381", Memorials of London and London Life in the 13th, 14th and 15th Centuries, (London, 1868). 447-455. British History Online. Web. 27 May 2024,

In this section

The old Seal of the Mayoralty broken, and a new one substituted.

4 Richard II. A.D. 1381. Letter-Book H. fol. cxxxii. (Latin.)

Be it remembered, that on the 17th day of April, in the 4th year etc., in full congregation holden in the Upper Chamber of the Guildhall of London, and summoned by William Walworth, the then Mayor, as well of those who then were Aldermen, (fn. 1) as of those who had been, together with the more substantial Commoners of the said city, in great number, for expediting certain matters touching our said Lord the King; by common assent it was agreed and ordered, that the old Seal of the office of Mayoralty of the said city should be broken, seeing that it was too small, rude, and ancient, and was unbecoming and derogatory from the honour of the City; and that another new Seal, of honourable aspect and a work of art, which the said Mayor had had made, should in future be used for that office, in place of the other.

In which new Seal, besides the figures of Peter and Paul, which in the old one were rudely made, beneath the feet of the said figures a shield of the arms of the said city is perfectly graven, with two lions guardant; two serjeants-at-arms being above, [one] on either side, and two pavilions, (fn. 2) in which there are two angels standing above; and between the two figures of Peter and Paul the figure of the Glorious Virgin is seated.

Therefore, the old Seal of the office of the Mayoralty was then delivered to Richard Odyham, the Chamberlain, who broke it; and in its place the said new Seal was delivered to the Mayor, to use the same, according as his office of the Mayoralty should demand and require.

Account of moneys expended by a Guardian upon her Ward.

4 Richard II. A.D. 1381. Letter-Book H. fol. cxxxvi. (Latin.)

Account of Agnes, relict of Adam Fraunceys, (fn. 3) for the time she had the guardianship of Paul, son of Thomas Salesbury, Knight; returned in the Chamber, before the auditors by William Walworth, the then Mayor, assigned, on the 29th day of May, in the 4th year etc., as to moneys expended on him.—

For the clothing of the said Paul and of his servants, bedding and appurtenances of the chamber; and for schooling, books, silver girdles, riding, and other necessaries for four years,—50l. 3s. 9½d. For the table of the said Paul and his servants for the same time, at 5s. per week,—52l.

Punishment of the Pillory, for exposing putrid pigeons for sale.

4 Richard II. A.D. 1381. Letter-Book H. fol. cxxxiii. (Latin.)

On the last day of May, in the 4th year etc., William Fot, of the County of Oxford, poulterer, was attached to make answer to the Commonalty of the City of London, in a plea of contempt and trespass: as to which, Ralph Strode, who prosecuted for the Commonalty, said that the same William, on the Thursday next after the Feast of St. Austin [26 May] in the year aforesaid, in Fletestret, brought 18 pigeons to sell, putrid and stinking, and an abomination to mankind, and exposed the same for sale; in contempt of the City of London, and in manifest deceit of the people.

And being asked how he would acquit himself thereof, he said nothing in the way of reasonably excusing himself. Precept was therefore given to John Botkesham, Serjeant, to summon here four cooks of Bredestret, to inform the Court whether the said pigeons were putrid on the Thursday aforesaid or not. Which cooks, namely, Thomas Coleman, Geoffrey Coleman, Robert Multone, and John Hurlle, being sworn, said upon their oath, that the said pigeons on the Thursday aforesaid were putrid, and unwholesome for man. Therefore it was awarded, that the said William should have the punishment of the pillory, there to stand for one hour of the day; and the said pigeons were to be burnt beneath the pillory. And precept was given to the Sheriffs to have proclamation made as to the reason for the same.

Account of the Insurrection of Walter Tyler, and of his death at the hands of William Walworthe, the Mayor.

4 Richard II. A.D. 1381. Letter-Book H. fol. cxxxiii. (Latin.)

Among the most wondrous and hitherto unheard-of prodigies that have ever happened in the City of London, that which took place there on the Feast of Corpus Christi, the 13th day of June, in the 4th year of the reign of King Richard the Second, seems deserving to be committed to writing, that it may be not unknown to those to come.—

For on that day, while the King was holding his Council in the Tower of London, countless companies of the commoners and persons of the lowest grade from Kent and Essex suddenly approached the said city, the one body coming to the town of Southwark, and the other to the place called "Mileende," without Algate. By the aid also of perfidious commoners within the City, of their own condition, who rose in countless numbers there, they suddenly entered the City together, and, passing straight through it, went to the mansion of Sir John, Duke of Lancaster, called "Le Savoye," (fn. 4) and completely levelled the same with the ground, and burned it. From thence they turned to the Church of the Hospital of St. John of Jerusalem, without Smethefeld, and burnt and levelled nearly all the houses there, the church excepted.

On the next morning, all the men from Kent and Essex met at the said place called "Mileende," together with some of the perfidious persons of the city aforesaid; whose numbers in all were past reckoning. And there the King came to them from the Tower, accompanied by many knights and esquires, and citizens on horseback, the lady his mother following him also in a chariot. (fn. 5) Where, at the prayer of the infuriated rout, (fn. 6) our Lord the King granted that they might take those who were traitors against him, and slay them, wheresoever they might be found. And from thence the King rode to his Wardrobe, which is situate near to Castle Baynard; while the whole of the infuriated rout took its way towards the Tower of London; entering which by force, they dragged forth from it Sir Simon, Archbishop of Canterbury, Chancellor of our Lord the King, and Brother Robert Hales, (fn. 7) Prior of the said Hospital of St. John of Jerusalem, the King's Treasurer; and, together with them, Brother William Appeltone, of the Order of Friars Minors, and John Leg, (fn. 8) Serjeant-at-arms to the King, and also, one Richard Somenour, of the Parish of Stebenhuthe; all of whom they beheaded in the place called "Tourhille," without the said Tower; and then carrying their heads through the City upon lances, they set them up on London Bridge, fixing them there on stakes.

Upon the same day there was also no little slaughter within the City, as well of natives as of aliens. Richard Lions, (fn. 9) citizen and vintner of the said City, and many others, were beheaded in Chepe. In the Vintry also, there was a very great massacre of Flemings, and in one heap there were lying about forty headless bodies of persons who had been dragged forth from the churches and their houses; and hardly was there a street in the City in which there were not bodies lying of those who had been slain. Some of the houses also in the said city were pulled down, and others in the suburbs destroyed, and some too, burnt.

Such tribulation as this, greater and more horrible than could be believed by those who had not seen it, lasted down to the hour of Vespers on the following day, which was Saturday, the 15th of June; on which day God sent remedy for the same, and His own gracious aid, by the hand of the most renowned man, Sir William Walworthe, the then Mayor; who in Smethefelde, in presence of our Lord the King and those standing by him, lords, knights, esquires, and citizens on horseback, on the one side, and the whole of this infuriated rout on the other, most manfully, by himself, rushed upon the captain of the said multitude, "Walter Tylere" by name, and, as he was altercating with the King and the nobles, first wounded him in the neck with his sword, and then hurled him from his horse, mortally pierced in the breast; and further, by favour of the divine grace, so defended himself from those who had come with him, both on foot and horseback, that he departed from thence unhurt, and rode on with our Lord the King and his people, towards a field near to the spring that is called "Whittewellebeche"; (fn. 10) in which place, while the whole of the infuriated multitude in warlike manner was making ready against our Lord the King and his people, refusing to treat of peace except on condition that they should first have the head of the said Mayor, the Mayor himself, who had gone into the City at the instance of our Lord the King, in the space of half an hour sent and led forth therefrom so great a force of citizen warriors in aid of his Lord the King, that the whole multitude of madmen was surrounded and hemmed in; and not one of them would have escaped, if our Lord the King had not commanded them to be gone. (fn. 11)

Therefore our Lord the King returned into the City of London with the greatest of glory and honour, and the whole of this profane multitude in confusion fled forthwith for concealment, in their affright.

For this same deed our Lord the King, beneath his standard, in the said field, with his own hands decorated with the order of knighthood the said Mayor, and Sir Nicholas Brembre, and Sir John Phelipot, who had already been Mayors of the said city; as also, SirRobert Launde. (fn. 12)

Injunctions issued by the Mayor, for keeping the peace within the City; and for keeping watch and ward at the City Gates.

4 Richard II. A.D. 1381. Letter-Book H. fol. cxxxiv. (Norman French.)

"Whereas the Aldermen, and other persons in great numbers, men of good heart, of every Ward in the City and from without, have been certified in presence of us at the Guildhall, as being good men, and loyal to our most dread Lord the King, and to his commandments, and as being ready, together with ourselves and the Aldermen, and the other officers of the City, to meet all rumours imagined within the said city, or without, against the honour of our said Lord and of the City; and to live and to die with us and the said officers, in opposing all persons who shall think fit to enter the said city to do such dishonour or despoiling, as against our said most dread Lord or ourselves, as of late, has been done, to the great scandal of all the realm and of ourselves; we do command you that, on seeing this, you do cause to be assembled before you all those who keep house and household, and do make them swear before you on the Bible, (fn. 13) firmly to observe the points above stated, to live and to die in the same, on pain of their lives; you taking down the names of all those who shall be so sworn. And further, you shall charge every person of your Ward who has a household, to take of them the same oath, on pain of their lives. And if you shall find any persons rebellious in conforming to all the points aforesaid, you are to cause the same to be arrested, as disobedient unto our Lord the King, and to the City, and to put them in safe guard, as for them you would answer. Written on the 20th day of June, in the 4th year of the reign of our Lord King Richard the Second."

"We do direct and command you, on your oath, and on pain of forfeiting as much as unto our Lord the King and to the City you may forfeit, that, all excuses set aside, you do cause the Gate of Algate this Saturday next to be guarded throughout the day, and the night following, by four men sufficiently well armed, and four archers, of the people of your Ward; that so, no stranger enter there through the same, with any armour, unless he be a gentleman, or else an archer, who will say upon his faith that he has now come unto our said Lord the King, to go forth with him against his rebels. And that the said four men-at-arms and four archers be not removed from the said gate before Sunday morning, at 4 of the clock; when other four men-at-arms and four archers of Tower Ward are to come and take the same guard of the gate, in manner aforesaid. And any person of your Ward whom you shall find rebellious or disobedient in keeping guard in manner aforesaid, you are to have forthwith arrested and taken to prison, as being a rebel, and disloyal to our said Lord the King, and to the City aforesaid. And this you are in no manner to omit, on the peril which awaits the same." (fn. 14)

Grant of leave to build a Hautpas, to Sir Robert Knolles and Constance, his wife.

5 Richard II. A.D. 1381. Letter-Book H. fol. cxxxviii. (Norman French.)

"To all persons who these present letters shall see or hear, the Mayor, Aldermen, and Commonalty, of the City of London, greeting. Know ye, that we have granted unto Messire Robert Knolles, (fn. 15) Knight, our dear and well-beloved fellow-citizen, and to Custance, his wife, leave to make a hautpas, (fn. 16) of the height of 14 feet, extending from the house of the said Messire Robert and Custance, his wife, on the West side thereof, to another house to them belonging, on the East side thereof, beyond the lane of Syuendenlane (fn. 17) in the Parish of All Hallows Berkyngchirche, near to the Tower of London; to have and to hold the same unto them, the said Messire Robert and Custance, his wife, their heirs and assigns, for ever: they rendering yearly unto the Chamberlain of the Guildhall of the said city, for the time being, on behalf of the said Commonalty, one red rose, at the Feast of St. John the Baptist [24th June], called the 'Nativity.' In witness whereof, to these Letters Patent the Common Seal of the said city is set, Messire William Walworthe, Knight, being then Mayor of the said city of London, and Walter Doget and William Knyghtcote, Sheriffs of the same city. Given at London, the 23rd day of July, in the 5th year of the reign of King Richard the Second etc."

Proclamation for keeping the peace within the City.

5 Richard II. A.D. 1381. Letter-Book H. fol. cxxxvii. (Norman French.)

"Be it proclaimed on behalf of our Lord the King, for the safekeeping of the peace, that no one repairing unto the City, after he shall have taken up his lodging there, shall go armed, or shall carry upon him, or have carried after him, a sword, unless he be a knight. And that no one shall go with armour for the body, save only the peers of the realm, and a knight or esquire of the household and retinue of our Lord the King; on pain of forfeiture of such armour, and of imprisonment. And that no foreigner shall be found wandering in the City by night after 6 of the clock; or shall go out of his hostel before 6 of the clock in the morning, on the same pain. And that each hosteler shall warn his guests of this Ordinance, and shall harbour no one for whom he will not answer, on the pain thereon ordained."

(fn. 18) This was proclaimed on the Feast of St. Edmund the Bishop, namely, the 16th day of November.

Punishment of the Pillory, for spreading false reports.

5 Richard II. A.D. 1381. Letter-Book H. fol. cxxxviii. (Latin.)

On the 29th day of November, in the 5th year etc., Simon Figge, of Sarre near Sandwich, was brought here into the Hall of the Guildhall, before the Mayor and Aldermen, for that the said Mayor was given to understand that the same Simon had been going about in divers places, falsely saying, and maliciously lying therein, that a man, to him unknown, had slain another man in Wodestrete, belonging to the household of the Earl of Northumberland, (fn. 19) and had then fled to a certain church. And that six men of a certain other lord, whose names were to him unknown, then went there, and took him therefrom, and carried him off through the midst of the people keeping ward at the Gate of Crepulgate, in spite of them, and striking down their lances to the ground: where he, the same Simon, in the struggle between the six men and those keeping the gate, took the iron head of a lance, called a "darte", and carried it off in his hand; and this he saw, and was present thereat, as he asserted.

And the said Mayor recorded that he had previously acknowledged to him that he had said this, and that he had falsely lied therein. And being now questioned thereon, he could say nothing etc., but put himself upon the favour of the Court. And because that the said Mayor and Aldermen had the King's commands to keep in peace the said City, and the suburbs thereof, so as to have no strife or affray therein, and especially at this time of the present Parliament; and so, if that lie should reach the ears of him, our Lord the King, the whole city might easily be damnified thereby; and also, because that through that same lie dissensions might easily—and might such not be the case—arise between the nobles of the realm etc., it was adjudged that the said Simon should be put upon the pillory, there to remain for one hour of the day, with a whetstone hung from his neck. And precept was given to the Sheriffs to do execution of the judgment aforesaid, and to have the cause thereof there proclaimed. And after such punishment, they were to send the same Simon back to the Prison of Neugate; there to remain until the said Mayor and Aldermen should have been more fully advised as to his release.

Inventory and valuation of stock in a Jeweller's Shop.

5 Richard II. A.D. 1381. Letter-Book F. fol. ccxxiii. (Latin.)

Articles that were in the shop of Adam Ledyard, jeweller, (fn. 20) of London, in the Parish of St. Martin Ludgate, in the Ward of Farndone Within, on the Wednesday next after the Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary [8 December], in the 5th year etc.—

One forcer, (fn. 21) value 6d., with divers jewels in the same contained;—namely, 4 sets of paternostres of white amber, (fn. 22) value 2s.; 16 sets of paternostres of amber, 20s.; 5 sets of paternostres, namely, 4 of coral, and one of geet, (fn. 23) 10s.; 6 sets of aves (fn. 24) of geet, and paternos tres of silver gilt, of one pattern, 8s.; 38 sets of aves of geet, with gaudees of silver gilt, (fn. 25) of another pattern, 38s.; 14 sets of aves of blue glass, with paternostres silver gilt, 3s. 4d.; 28 sets of paternostres of geet, 3s. 4d.; 15 sets of paternostres of mazer, (fn. 26) and 5 of white bone, for children, 5s.; 20 necklaces of silver gilt, 5s.; 46 rings of silver gilt, 10s.; 14 necklaces of geet, the tongues of silver, 3s. 4d.; and 2 crucifixes of silver gilt, 3s.


  • 1. The Aldermen at this period were elected annually; not to serve two years in succession.
  • 2. tabernacula.
  • 3. Perhaps the Mayor of 1352, 3.
  • 4. The Savoy in the Strand; built by Peter of Savoy, uncle of Alianor, wife of Henry III.
  • 5. Or whirlicote, as the ladies' chariots were called in those days. See p. 99 ante.
  • 6. tumultus.
  • 7. Admiral of the English fleet in the Western parts, in the reign of Edward III.
  • 8. It has been stated by Collins (Peerage), on the authority of Stow, that Thomas Legge, who had been Mayor in 1347 and 1354, was slain on this occasion. He had however been dead, no doubt, many years before; see pages 331, 385, ante; and this John Leg was his son, being a farmer of the public revenue.
  • 9. Sheriff, in 1374; and a merchant of great opulence.
  • 10. Probably meaning White Well Beech, from a beech tree standing near a well; or possibly, from bec, a stream. It seems not improbable that the well, or spring, of St. Agnes le Clair, at the end of Old Street Road, is meant.
  • 11. A word, apparently resembling perilintere (? præcipitanter) occurs here.
  • 12. Sheriff in 1376.
  • 13. Livre, "the Book."
  • 14. In a long Note it is added, that these injunctions were sent to the Aldermen of every Ward, the charge of each Gate being assigned to a certain Ward, on a certain day.
  • 15. One of the most eminent generals of his day. He served under Edward the Black Prince, and afterwards in various campaigns against France: and did eminently good service in coming to the rescue when King Richard was threatened by the adherents of Wat Tyler, after his death. His exploits are very fully recounted in Froissart and Walsingham's Hist. Anglicana; from which we learn that he died in 1407.
  • 16. Or balpace; a room or floor raised on pillars underneath, and extending into the street.
  • 17. In Stow's time, Sidon, or Sything, Lane; now Seething Lane.
  • 18. In Latin.
  • 19. Henry Percy.
  • 20. Or paternostrer; as he would have been styled in the earlier books.
  • 21. A coffer, or box.
  • 22. launber in the MS.; an error for number, as elsewhere.
  • 23. Jet.
  • 24. From "Ave Maria", "Hail, Mary," Luke i. 28; like paternosters, these were beads for devotional purposes, one paternoster coming after every 10 aves in the rosary.
  • 25. From Gaudete, "Rejoice"; in allusion to Luke i. 14; beads of larger size, in the bead-roll.
  • 26. Probably, mixed materials, wood inlaid with metal.